Meeting set to discuss Water St. parking deck project

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Community members will have a chance to voice their opinions on Wilmington’s plans for the Water Street parking deck tonight. Critics say they have many concerns about how the multi-million dollar project will be funded and how the process has been going.

The project is moving forward, but there are still concerns from taxpayers like Residents of Old Wilmington President Paul Lawler.

“With the proposal that’s there, calls for a big subsidy for taxpayers, and there shouldn’t be a subsidy on this,” Lawler said. “It’s not fair to other developers if this project is going to have the taxpayer pay for much of this parking cost. And then the third thing there hasn’t been a lot of citizen input.”

Wilmington Downtown Incorporated President Ed Wolverton says that’s not exactly right.

“There’s no subsidy involved,” Wolverton said. “The city already owns two parking decks in downtown. These are all part of public infrastructure that the city provides for downtown users.”

A city spokeswoman agreed with Wolverton, who also says the developer would have to pay for parking spaces.

“They would pay $100 a month to lease the space, so they are actually planning,” Wolverton said.

Lawler says what he hopes for moving forward is more public input. He says what’s being done by a consulting firm was not enough.

“We want honesty, where we can give all of our opinions, not carefully controlled questions designed only to answer certain things,” Lawler said.

The meeting about the parking deck redevelopment starts at 6:30 p.m. at the downtown library. Former Wilmington Mayor Harper Petersen will moderate.

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